More S’poreans Prefer M’sia As A Place To Retire

According to the Business Times, about one in three Singaporeans consider retiring in Malaysia.
Malaysia has always been a go-to spot for Singaporeans, thanks to its delicious food and the favourable exchange rate that makes shopping and dining out much cheaper.

But recently, there’s been a noticeable shift: more and more Singaporeans are not just visiting Malaysia, but thinking about retiring here.

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One in three Singaporeans consider Malaysia for retirement

For illustration purposes only. Photo via Canva

A survey reported by Business Times found that up to one in three Singaporeans are considering Malaysia as a retirement destination. This is a significant jump, and it’s got a lot to do with the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme.

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Daniel Yap, who runs an MM2H agency, says there’s been a spike in interest from Singaporeans, while realtor Iwin Tay has seen more Singaporeans buying homes in Malaysia.

As of January 31, there were 56,066 active MM2H pass holders, with Singaporeans making up a good chunk of that number.

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Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) Programme

Malaysia my second home (mm2h) programme

Several Singaporeans, like Ramasamy Narayan Prasad and Latifah Moore, have already made the move under Malaysia’s My Second Home (MM2H) programme, reported FMT.

The MM2H initiative is designed to allow foreigners to reside in Malaysia on a long-term basis, offering a pathway for retirees to enjoy their golden years in a culturally familiar and economically viable environment.

Sarawak’s MM2H programme stands out for its relaxed requirements compared to Peninsular Malaysia. For example, couples need to demonstrate a monthly income of just RM10,000, whereas individuals qualify with an income of RM7,000 per month. This flexibility makes Sarawak an attractive option for retirees considering Malaysia as their new home.

Personal Stories: Why Singaporeans Choose Malaysia

The waterfront kuching, sarawak
For illustration purposes only. Photo via Canva

Ramasamy, 85, and his wife Rama Devi, 76, exemplify the appeal of Malaysia for retirees. Having initially moved to Malaysia in 1994 for work, they decided to stay upon Ramasamy’s retirement in 2019.

Despite a temporary setback when the MM2H programme was suspended in November 2019, the couple found solace in the Sarawak MM2H scheme, which offers more relaxed financial requirements compared to the national programme.

The Sarawak MM2H programme demands a monthly income of RM10,000 for couples, significantly lower than the RM40,000 required by the national scheme. This financial leniency enabled Ramasamy and his wife to return to Malaysia, where they have been living comfortably for the past year.

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“However, we found out that we qualify under Sarawak’s MM2H scheme, which we applied for and got approval for last year. We have been under the programme for a year now,” he said.

‘Bungalow in M’sia that’s cheaper than old condo in S’pore’

Bungalow in malaysia
For illustration purposes only. Photo via airbnb

For many Singaporeans, the big appeal of retiring in Malaysia includes cultural similarities and much cheaper property prices. Latifah Moore, 55, and her husband, for instance, found that a house in Malaysia costs way less than in Singapore.

In Singapore, a decent house can cost at least S$3 million (RM10.3 million), which is out of reach for many. Latifah now lives in a bungalow in Malaysia that’s cheaper than her old condo in Singapore.

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“In Singapore, a decent house will cost at least S$3 million (RM10.3 million). It’s not something we can afford.”

However, Latifah thinks the MM2H programme could be even better. She suggests relaxing some of the tougher requirements and giving MM2H pass holders special privileges, like discounts at local attractions.

“Many retirees may find it difficult to meet some of the requirements. “MM2H pass holders also don’t get any special privileges. For example, when visiting Malaysian attractions, we are required to pay the same amount as any other foreign tourist,” she said.

More Singaporeans are buying homes in places like Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Penang, and Melaka. 
For illustration purposes only. Photo via Canva

The idea of retiring in Malaysia is catching on. Yap’s agency, Exodus MM2H, is getting more inquiries from Singaporeans, drawn by the lower cost of living and cheaper property prices.

Tay also notes that more Singaporeans are buying homes in places like Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Penang, and Melaka. The cost of living and property prices are much lower, allowing retirees to enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle.

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“With the cost of living and property prices so much lower, they will be able to enjoy a comfortable retirement in Malaysia.”

Cultural similarities and being just next door help a lot too. Singaporeans and Malaysians share many cultural aspects, and moving to Malaysia isn’t a huge leap.

Tay points out that Singaporeans in their 60s often prefer landed property, which is too pricey in Singapore. Younger retirees in their 50s are leaning towards Malaysian condos, which offer amenities like gyms, swimming pools, and convenience stores – things that aren’t always available in Singapore’s standard condos.

“Unless you live in a luxurious and more expensive condo, you won’t get these,” he said.

The influx of Singaporean retirees has had a positive impact on Malaysia’s property market and economy. Tay also highlights that this trend brings Singaporean money into Malaysia, benefiting the local economy.

“That’s great for us because Singaporean money is coming into the country instead of leaving,” he said.

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